As of this writing, off-season activity has been pretty slow across Major League Baseball. So let’s crank things up with a few fearless predictions for our beloved Cubbies. To steal a line from David Letterman: “This is only an exhibition, not a competition…please, no wagering.”
Jake Arrieta—What do the Cubs do with their former Cy Young Award winner? Let somebody else overpay for him! Jake will be 31 as of opening day, and it will likely take a six-year deal to land him. Thanks but no thanks. Prediction…Arrieta signs with the Angels, who have lots of experience signing middle-aged ballplayers to mega deals that look awful down the road.
Closer—Will Wade Davis return to Wrigley? Will Brandon Morrow sign and close games for the Northsiders? Will Carl Edwards Jr. fill the 9th inning slot? Will Randy Myers come out of retirement? “No” to all of the above. In case you missed it, the hapless Padres have a stud closer just waiting to be acquired. Prediction…The Cubs deal a prospect or two for Brad Hand, who is arbitration eligible this year. San Diego is in serious rebuilding mode, so acquiring prospects and saving cash will be extremely attractive.
Shohei Ohtani and the Starting Staff—Multiple sources are reporting that Ohtani’s final list is down to seven teams, including the Cubs. Talking heads and Twitter freaks can’t stop talking about his two-way player potential, but for me Ohtani is a starting pitcher. The Cubs will need to replace Arrieta, and Ohtani is full of upside. But when push comes to shove, I say he signs with an A.L. squad so that he can DH from time to time (if a team is crazy enough to let him do so). Prediction…Ohtani to the Mariners, and no he doesn’t succeed as a two-way player. Prediction part two…The Cubs sign free agent Lance Lynn to a three-year deal with an option and move Montgomery to the rotation.
Bonus Prediction—How about a quick NFL prediction? Since the mid-1980s my brother and I make our Super Bowl predictions in late August/early September, right before the season begins. This year I went with Pittsburgh and…..Green Bay (oops). If I’m allowed a do-over I’ll stick with the Steelers, but switch my NFC squad to the New Orleans Saints. Hard to believe that the Saints are winning with defense and the running game.
That’s all I have for now. What say you?